Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

June 18, 2014 11:45 ET

Local "Hit Squad" Students Fighting Invasive Species in Finch and Hawkesbury Areas This Summer

PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 18, 2014) - Invasive species pose a growing threat to Ontario's biodiversity and cause millions of dollars in damage annually. There are more invasive species in Ontario than anywhere else in Canada, so it is a good thing the Invading Species Awareness Program (ISAP) Hit Squad is working across the province again this summer to spread awareness about the impacts invasive species are having on our environment, economy, and society. One Hit Squad member will be located in Finch this summer and another will be working in the Hawkesbury area.

Locally, Brent Harbers is an Invasive Species Community Outreach Liaison working with South Nation Conservation and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH). Mitchell Keller is an Invasive Species Community Outreach Liaison working with Voyageur Provincial Park and OFAH.

"By working together, we can make a difference," Harbers says. "I encourage the public to visit EddmapS.org/Ontario on their mobile devices to help track the spread of invasive species in Ontario."

"European water chestnut is an invasive species of focus within Voyageur," Keller says. "Preventing its spread by proper cleaning of boating and fishing equipment is key. I encourage the public to report European water chestnut sightings in your area by calling the Invading Species Hotline or through EDDMapS Ontario with your computer or smart phone."

The OFAH partners with the Ministry of Natural Resources to deliver the Invading Species Awareness Program. This program uses public education to prevent the introduction of new invasive species, and to stop the spread of those already here.

Over the course of the summer, the Invasive Species Hit Squad, comprised of about 25 summer students, will monitor more than 200 local lakes, waterways and forests, looking for zebra mussels, spiny water flea, round goby, giant hogweed, garlic mustard, and other invaders. They will also contribute to a variety of efforts to control the spread of these invaders. Funding is being provided by the federal government's Canada Summer Jobs program.

To report a sighting of an invasive species, or request information materials, call the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711, visit www.invadingspecies.com or EDDMapS.org/Ontario. You can follow the Hit Squad progress on Twitter @invspecies or @ofah.

The public is invited to contact Brent Harbers at bharbers@nation.on.ca and Mitchell Keller at mitchell_keller@ofah.org. To arrange a media interview, please contact the OFAH Manager of Communications. A high-resolution photo of the student is available upon request.

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